Afghan court increases jail term for Kabul Bank executives
An Afghan court Tuesday increased the jail sentences for two executives convicted over the $900 million collapse of Kabul Bank to 10 years.
Kabul: An Afghan court Tuesday increased the jail sentences for two executives convicted over the $900 million collapse of Kabul Bank to 10 years.
The appeal court ruling came after President Ashraf Ghani ordered fresh investigations into the massive fraud that led to the collapse of the bank, Afghanistan`s biggest, in 2010.
The two executives were also asked to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars lost in embezzlement.
The Kabul Bank scandal highlighted the corruption that had become rampant in Afghanistan as a foreign aid flow of billions of dollars came in the wake of the 2001 US-led invasion to oust the Taliban.
International donors were outraged that so much money was disappearing into private pockets while Afghanistan remained wracked by poverty and violence.
The fraud saw fake companies given loans by the bank, and the cash spirited abroad -- sometimes in airline food trays -- in a sophisticated operation to buy homes in Britain, Dubai, Switzerland and the United States.
The bank`s former chairman, Sher Khan Farnoud, and its former CEO Khalilullah Ferozi were jailed last year for five years with 18 other people also sentenced.
But the procedure was criticised for failing to bring the real masterminds to justice.
Farnoud and Ferozi were sentenced on Tuesday to 10 years each for money-laundering and embezzlement. Appeal court judge Mehrajuddin Hamidi announced the verdict after a two-day hearing in Kabul.
In court Farnoud accused Mahmood Karzai, brother of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, and Haseen Fahim, brother of the former vice-president of being the key organisers behind the scheme.
Both the brothers were shareholders in the bank and there has also been criticism that neither of them were charged.
The court ordered the assets of both to be frozen.
The judge also ordered the prosecutors to inspect a list of around 270 people involved in the case.
Last month, Ashraf Ghani who took office after a six-month election deadlock, ordered a new probe into the case as he sought to show his determination to crack down on rampant corruption.
On the campaign trail, Ghani repeatedly vowed he would pursue those behind what the government previously described as the country`s "largest and most complex financial crime".
Ghani won a reputation as an anti-corruption campaigner while finance minister from 2002-2004.
Kabul Bank was seized by the government in 2010 after exposure of the fraud, which led the International Monetary Fund to temporarily halt its loans to Afghanistan as donor nations demanded action to cut down on corruption.